Buuuuurninating the countryside, burninating the peasants!!!!!
For those of you looking to extend your Skyrim experience at the right price, this is the DLC you need. Dragonborn isn't so much content as it is an expansion pack due to its size and impact on your experience in the world of Skyrim. With 10+ hours of gameplay, not including the side quests, it's the largest addition to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim we've seen so far. The new area of Solstheim alone is almost one-third the size of the map for Skyrim, which means more intrigue, more dungeons, and more dragons.
Once you've gotten past the “Call of Jurgen Windcaller” Quest of the main story, you'll eventually run into Dragonborn Cultists who serve Miraak, an ancient Dragonborn. I say “eventually” because these cultists seem to take forever to find you, but I think Whiterun may be the best place to go if you're waiting for them to show up because that's eventually where they tracked me down after hours of wandering around. You can still access Solstheim without running into them by going to the Windhelm docks if you are like me and get impatient (here's a FAQ on how to access it). The only downside is that you'll need them to trigger the main quest where you track down Miraak and learn the Bend Will shout. So if you venture off to Solstheim beforehand, you'll need to return to Skyrim eventually to complete the DLC.
Overall, the main quest of the Dragonborn DLC consists of seven questlines, including three trips to the happiest realm of supernatural existence: Oblivion. Solstheim is a region of Morrowind inhabited primarily by Dark Elves and has recently fallen victim to the fallout of a nearby volcanic eruption, shrouding the sky and land in ash. This makes for a unique setting that's quite different from the landscape of Skyrim.
On your journey you'll encounter mysterious Black Books that will draw you into the realm of Hermaeus Mora, The Daedric Prince of Fate, called Apocrypha. You may have even spoken with him already if you played Oblivion and completed the Blood of the Daedra quest, although I must say that I prefer Wes Johnson's take on the ancient demon's voice in this DLC then the original. It's so damn spot-on and creepy. Apocrypha itself feels something out of an H.P Lovecraft novel, and I'm fairly sure that Hermaeus was based upon more than a few of his creations with the primary one being Cthulhu because there are tentacles all over Apocrypha, even in the sky.
Throughout the main journey you'll be able to upgrade existing skills by finding books in Apocrypha that add bonuses to existing perks. The most beneficial book is one you unlock after completing the main Dragonborn quest that allows you to reallocate skills from one skill tree and repurpose them however you want for the cost of a dragon soul. If you keep the Black Book that sends you to this final level of the quest, you can return to this area anytime and repurpose skills whenever you want to.
In addition, there are a total of four shouts you can learn if you spend enough time completing all there is to do in this expansion, the most notable being the Bend Will shout, which allows you to control dragons. When riding a dragon, you can fast-travel around the map or direct the dragon to attack enemies on the ground. This can come in extremely handy if you want to kill Giants back in Skyrim. The controls are a bit clunky but it's so damn fun that I don't care, especially since it's not half as bad as the companion system.
The primary story arc of Dragonborn is dwarfed in comparison to the 29 side quests that are available and that's not counting miscellaneous errands various villagers send you on. It took me about 15 hours to finish the main quest and there is still so much more to do that it's almost overwhelming. Bottom line, this DLC is well worth your time and money to check this out, especially if you're going though Skyrim withdrawal.